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On the nature of ULF wave power during nightside auroral activations and substorms: 2. temporal evolution

Rae, I. J., Murphy, K. R., Watt, C. E. J. and Mann, I. R. (2011) On the nature of ULF wave power during nightside auroral activations and substorms: 2. temporal evolution. Journal of Geophysical Research, 116. A00I22. ISSN 0148-0227

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1029/2010JA015762

Abstract/Summary

We present a statistical analysis of the time evolution of ground magnetic fluctuations in three (12–48 s, 24–96 s and 48–192 s) period bands during nightside auroral activations. We use an independently derived auroral activation list composed of both substorms and pseudo-breakups to provide an estimate of the activation times of nightside aurora during periods with comprehensive ground magnetometer coverage. One hundred eighty-one events in total are studied to demonstrate the statistical nature of the time evolution of magnetic wave power during the ∼30 min surrounding auroral activations. We find that the magnetic wave power is approximately constant before an auroral activation, starts to grow up to 90 s prior to the optical onset time, maximizes a few minutes after the auroral activation, then decays slightly to a new, and higher, constant level. Importantly, magnetic ULF wave power always remains elevated after an auroral activation, whether it is a substorm or a pseudo-breakup. We subsequently divide the auroral activation list into events that formed part of ongoing auroral activity and events that had little preceding geomagnetic activity. We find that the evolution of wave power in the ∼10–200 s period band essentially behaves in the same manner through auroral onset, regardless of event type. The absolute power across ULF wave bands, however, displays a power law-like dependency throughout a 30 min period centered on auroral onset time. We also find evidence of a secondary maximum in wave power at high latitudes ∼10 min following isolated substorm activations. Most significantly, we demonstrate that magnetic wave power levels persist after auroral activations for ∼10 min, which is consistent with recent findings of wave-driven auroral precipitation during substorms. This suggests that magnetic wave power and auroral particle precipitation are intimately linked and key components of the substorm onset process.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:No Reading authors. Back catalogue items
Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:32807
Uncontrolled Keywords:ULF waves; substorm onset; CARISMA
Publisher:American Geophysical Union

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